‘We are stay­ing put’

NURS­ING HOME ROW ESCALATES AS TWO RES­I­DENTS REFUSE TO MOVE

Bray People - - Council Report - Mary FOG­A­RTY

RON­NIE COUGH­LAN and Paul Smith re­main de­fi­ant in their con­tin­u­ing re­fusal to va­cate the Or­chard Nurs­ing Home, call­ing its clo­sure an ‘il­le­gal evic­tion.’ As the HSE pre­pares to spend an es­ti­mated €1.5 mil­lion on pri­vate nurs­ing homes for the Or­chard evictees, an in­de­pen­dent fire ex­pert has put the cost of bring­ing the build­ing up to stan­dard at just €100,000. He said that the work could be done in around one month.

The peo­ple of Bray, mean­while, are be­ing in­vited to sign a pe­ti­tion to halt the de­mo­li­tion of the build­ing on Kil­lar­ney Road.

Just four res­i­dents re­main there now, the quiet halls once filled with the buzz of ac­tiv­ity now eerily si­lent.

Anx­ious res­i­dents watched last Fri­day as cur­tains were re­moved from the bed­rooms and all the fur­ni­ture in the home was la­beled for re­moval.

Two of them are flat-out re­fus­ing to leave, while the other two feel that fur­ther clar­i­fi­ca­tion of what the fu­ture holds for them is needed be­fore they agree to move.

‘There is an at­mos­phere of ha­tred in here at the mo­ment,’ said a staff mem­ber. ‘There has been no ac­tual guar­an­tee made for the fu­ture, just empty prom­ises of a smooth tran­si­tion.’

Ron­nie and Paul are de­ter­mined not to move from the home, hav­ing been told just two weeks ago that the Or­chard must close.

‘ It’s diabolical what has hap­pened,’ said Ron­nie. ‘Peo- ple have been pushed out of here. We are stay­ing put.’

There were 35 pa­tients at the Or­chard and 20 staff mem­bers. Deputy Liz McManus has called for the HSE to make up for the loss of beds af­ter the clo­sure, ex­press­ing the hope that the clo­sure is not part of a hid­den agenda to get rid of pub­lic beds across the coun­try. Age Action Ire­land has also ex­pressed con­cern stat­ing that the clo­sure of the fa­cil­ity should be a last re­sort.

‘Friends of the Or­chard,’ was formed in the Royal Ho­tel last week as a re­ac­tion to the news that the nurs­ing home on the Kil­lar­ney Road is to close.

The group con­sists of mem­bers of staff, fam­ily mem- bers of res­i­dents, pub­lic rep­re­sen­ta­tives and a fire­proof­ing ex­pert. The or­gan­i­sa­tion aims to en­sure that the site on Kil­lar­ney Road re­mains the lo­ca­tion of a pub­licly owned and op­er­ated nurs­ing home in the fu­ture. Strong crit­i­cism has been hurled at the HSE, own­ers of the home, over the past weeks since the an­nounce­ment was made.

The an­nounce­ment came with the pro­duc­tion of a fire re­port that they said branded the build­ing a haz­ard.

‘The man­ner in which the res- idents were in­formed and moved from the home has caused a lot of dis­tress and anx­i­ety amongst many of the el­derly res­i­dents,’ said Cllr. John Brady. ‘Many of them are heart­bro­ken at hav­ing to leave their home and their friends.’

The group wel­comes the fact that an ap­pli­ca­tion will be made for Cap­i­tal fund­ing to have the Nurs­ing home re­built, how­ever they are not con­vinced of the need to de­mol­ish the ex­ist­ing nurs­ing home.

‘We be­lieve that the ex­ist­ing nurs­ing home can be brought up the ex­ist­ing fire safety stan­dards,’ said a spokesman.

The Friends of the Or­chard are de­mand­ing a meet­ing with Pro­fes­sor Bren­dan Drumm who is Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of the HSE and also Min­is­ter for Health Mary Har­ney. There will be a pub­lic meet­ing in the Royal Ho­tel in Bray to­mor­row at 8 p.m. all are wel­come to at­tend.

Paul Smith and Ron­nie Lough­man who are re­fus­ing to leave Or­chard Nurs­ing Home.

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